Fire Starters

Boldness, clarity and wisdom for fundraising professionals

Four Phrases You Can Use to Make Asking for Contributions More Comfortable

I talk a lot about ways to raise money and not have to ask for the gift. . . but please don’t get me wrong. . . there ARE times it’s important to make the “ask.” Asking for the gift is part or all of your work if you have the position of: Executive Director Development Director Major Gifts, Planned Giving, or Annual Gifts Officer VP of Advancement, External Relations, Planned Giving Board Chair Fundraising Committee Chair OR any other position that indicates you are in a leadership role at your nonprofit organization and part of your job is to raise money If you are like many of the people I meet, you may be “new” to asking for gifts. You are excellent at other aspects of your job, but asking for gifts gives you sweaty palms and heart palpitations. If that’s the case, here are a few of my favorite lead-in phrases when asking others for a gift. Someone Who Has Given $250 to $900 for at least one year: “Thank you for your gift of $xxx last year. Today I’m here to invite you to join our giving society” NOTE: This is usually a gift of $1000 to $100,000 or more for five years. Someone You Know Well and Are Comfortable Practicing On: “I’m new to this whole asking people to make a financial contribution thing so I chose you to have my first conversation with. . . thanks for seeing me.” Then pause and smile. Wait to see what they ask or say before diving in and talking their ear off. DO know ahead of time...

Celebrating World Gratitude Day

What I’m grateful for and celebrate today on World Gratitude Day:

  • That you are a reader of my Fire Starters blog.
  • That I do work that inspires me every day.
  • That by teaching others the power of using stories to engage others, I hear heart-warming, heart-wrenching, mission moments, often.

Create Sizzling Mission-Focused Agency Visits for Your Guests

Whatever you call these events their intention is to knock the socks off your guests and cause them to connect deeply with your mission and organization.. In my experience, that happens so rarely I decided to create a checklist to help guide well-intentioned planners through the process of conducting these tours or what I call an “experience our mission” session.

6 Unique & Compelling Story Ideas for Your Fall Fundraising Appeal

You already know sharing stories in your fall appeal is a “must do.”

But what story will you share?

Here are 6 recommendations for choosing a unique and compelling story.

These examples come from working watching organizations raise more money by sharing different types of stories during my 30+ years of helping nonprofit organizations raise $300 million from individual donors.

Individual Donor Benchmark Report Reveals Secret Sauce for Effective Fundraising

Are you wondering how your fundraising program is really doing? How you compare to your peers? Where you could be raising even more money? The Individual Donor Benchmark Report is for you!

Each year the IDB Report examines individual donor fundraising data from small and mighty organizations – those with budgets under $2 million. There’s no other source of this kind of information on average gift, retention rate, online giving, recurring donations, and much more.

I’m Calling it 3.0

It’s been 10 years that I’ve been self-employed. I started my company for the same reason I do my work today: to help as many people in the nonprofit community do more of what they want to do AND to have all the money they need to do it.

My niche, my gift, is to help people communicate differently.

My special sauce, so to speak, is helping people share powerful stories.

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